Scientific studies show: Not all young people have the same opportunities to participate in a Franco-German exchange or an international mobility programme. Financial difficulties, geographical distance, disabilities, lack of information ... The life situations of young people are varied, and so, too, are the problems and challenges they face.

The commitment by the FGYO and its partners on behalf of diversity and participation date back as early as the 1970s. At the time, more and more young people were feeling the effects of mass unemployment. It’s a long story. But here comes the short version!

2006 marked the launch of the first ‘Diversity and Participation’ network – which originally went by the name of ‘Integration and Equality of Opportunity’. The context in both countries at the time was characterised by social tensions that affected young people as well. Already in 2007, a partnership was created between Clichy-sous-Bois and Neukölln – two locations that had been particularly hard by youth unemployment and social problems – and projects for school exchanges were launched immediately after that. 

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© Judith Kormann

Over the years, the network grew to include more than 100 institutions in youth and social work in Berlin/Brandenburg and Paris/Île-de-France. The mission of this network: To show young people who to date have had no or only difficult access to mobility programmes how they can take part in Franco-German or trilateral exchange projects.

But why a Franco-German exchange, of all things? The answer is quite simple: Experiences gained in another country offer great added value for participants’ own personal development. The benefits include the acquisition of intercultural skills, language proficiency and adaptability, among other things.

The advantages of such a network are clear: A networking of professional structures that are locally anchored and that centre around the target groups they serve.

Diversity is in high demand. In 2011, more than 3,000 young people came to ‘Paris-Berlin’ a hip-hop festival held on the grounds of the former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport. In a pilot project begun in 2012, the ‘neighbourhood mothers’ from Berlin-Neukölln have been sharing ideas with the socio-cultural mediators known as femmes-relais from Clichy-sous-Bois. And since 2017, another project, ‘Three Countries, Six Languages’, has brought together young deaf and hearing-impaired people from Germany, France and Poland.

Diversity and participation have ranked among the main themes of the FGYO since 2015. The FGYO has raised the share of young people with ‘special needs’ who participate in its programmes to at least 20 percent. This target was achieved for the first time in 2020, with a share of 21.29%.

The effort to create networks of specialists and multipliers has been intensified as well. The network approach has been an inspiration to a great many partners from a variety of regions and federal states. Participating organisations apply their own goals and methods to ensure growth in the target groups as they promote the sharing of best practices in the youth and social sectors. 

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© Elisa Gabelli

The Diversity and Participation networks

‘Diversity and Participation’ network between Berlin/Brandenburg – Paris/Île-de-France

DiPa Logo Anderes Format

Established in 2006 against the backdrop of unrest in the French banlieues and controversial discussions around integrating young people with a (supposed) migration background in Berlin schools, the ‘Diversity and Participation’ network brings together youth social workers from Berlin/Brandenburg and Paris/Île-de-France who are dedicated to diversity and the youth participation in society.

The aim is to better identify and combat structural discrimination in all of its forms, whether based e.g. on social/geographical origin, religion, mental/physical abilities, external appearance, gender or sexual identity.
The network fosters new partnerships and the sharing of experiences, promotes dialogue with representatives from politics and science, and – above all – initiates youth encounters. The network is coordinated by the Centre français de Berlin (CFB), the youth education centre Blossin, the mission locale des Bordes de Marne and the Peuple et Culture network.

Sarah Atukpe, Peuple et Culture (  
Mélanie Lançon, Centre français de Berlin gGmbH (

Further information is available at:

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The ‘Route NN’ initiative

Initiative Route NN

The ‘Route NN’ initiative was established in 2015 with the aim of offering all young people from North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany and the Hauts-de-France region in France an opportunity to take part in a Franco-German exchange. Route NN views itself as a point of contact for the participation of young people in society, education and mobility. The initiative is particularly committed to combating inequality and discrimination. Founding members on the German side are Gustav-Stresemann-Institut e. V., Arbeit und Leben DGB/VHS NRW and IKAB-Bildungswerk e. V.; on the French side, the founding members are CEFIR, Les Francas Hauts-de-France, the regional association Léo Lagrange Nord/Île-de-France, the association Génériques, CEMÉA Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the FGYO Junior Ambassadors for ‘Diversity and Participation’.

Annette Mütter, IKAB-Bildungswerk e. V. (
Camel Guecioueur, CEMÉA Nord-Pas-de-Calais (

Further information is available at:

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Network: PASSAGE! Hamburg-Marseille-PACA

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The PASSAGE! network brings stakeholders in education, youth welfare, culture, politics and administration together from the port cities of Hamburg and Marseille as well as the PACA region in France. The FGYO launched PASSAGE! as a ‘Diversity and Participation’ network in 2018, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the town twinning. This creates local networks in both cities and regions – with membership that also includes young peers (mobility guides) – that provide information on projects or initiate activities themselves. PASSAGE! seeks to motivate young people to pursue further education and/or share their experiences with one another. The network is coordinated by two associations: dock europe and Une Terre Culturelle.

Petra Barz, dock europe e. V. ( 
Janina Chetty, Une Terre Culturelle (

Further information is available at:

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‘Diversity and Participation’ network between stakeholders from Hesse in Germany and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France

This network was created in 2021 and is based on the regional partnership between Hesse and Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The objective is to strengthen Franco-German cooperation in both regions. With this purpose in mind, regional and institutional partners from civil society, associations and politics are involved. Funding is available mainly for projects that serve young people from neighbourhoods in challenging locations and rural areas in the two regions. Coordination of the network is provided by Solijugend in Germany and by Fondation INFA in France.

Géraldine Cromvel, Solidaritätsjugend (
Tanja Leon-Vetter, Fondation INFA (

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‘Diversity and Participation’ network between stakeholders from Saxony in Germany and Occitanie in France

Created in autumn 2021, this regional network presents a special framework for improving contacts in civil society in the two regions. Its focus is on creating linkages among stakeholders in formal and non-formal education and in youth-welfare structures, youth social work and educational exchange, and among stakeholders in the fields of sports, music, art and culture. The aim is to augment the motivation of France and Germany across all youth settings, school forms, association activities and initiatives. Vocational training is of particular importance in this regard. The network is coordinated by two associations: Europa-Direkt e. V. in Dresden and Roudel in Toulouse.

Sarah Neis, Europa-Direkt e. V. (
Lea Barten, Roudel (

Further information is available at:

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So now what do you say? Is it really always the same people who get to go abroad?

Point of contact at the FGYO:

Lisa Kenning
+49 30 288 757 71